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THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT TRUST PLC - Annual Financial Report

THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT TRUST PLC

Annual Financial Report for the year ended 30 September 2015

The full Annual Report and Financial Statements can be accessed via the Company's website at www.theeuropeaninvestmenttrust.com or by contacting the Company Secretary by telephone on 0131 270 3800.
 

COMPANY SUMMARY

Investment objective
To achieve long–term capital growth through a diversified portfolio of Continental European securities. A detailed description of the Company’s investment policy is set out in the Strategic Report below.

Shareholders’ funds
£312,239,000 at 30 September 2015.

Market capitalisation
£283,127,000 at 30 September 2015.

Capital structure
As at 30 September 2015 and at the date of this report, the Company had 42,069,371 ordinary shares of 25p each in issue.

Investing in the Company
The Company’s ordinary shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange and the New Zealand Stock Exchange and can be bought or sold through a stockbroker or financial adviser. The ordinary shares are eligible for inclusion in ISAs, Junior ISAs and SIPPs. These are available through Alliance Trust Savings, who also offer the opportunity to invest in the Company through a dealing account. The Company’s shares are also available on other share trading platforms.

AIC
The Company is a member of the Association of Investment Companies (“AIC”).

Alternative Investment Fund Manager
Edinburgh Partners AIFM Limited (the “AIFM”).

Investment Manager
The AIFM has delegated the function of managing the Company’s investment portfolio to Edinburgh Partners Limited (“Edinburgh Partners” or the “Investment Manager”).

Management fee
0.55% per annum of the Company’s equity market capitalisation payable monthly in arrears.

Ten Year Record

 Performance (rebased to 100 at 30 September 2005)
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
NAV per share 100.0 117.0 143.6 95.9 101.5 104.1 89.6 97.6 122.9 128.1 118.8
Share price 100.0 118.7 145.1 92.5 98.9 97.3 82.6 90.7 122.2 133.7 120.2
Earnings per share
100.0

125.3

115.4

205.2

190.0

197.8

243.5

220.7

258.5

213.1

228.8
Dividends per share
100.0

120.0

110.7

198.7

181.3

186.7

213.3

213.3

240.0

200.0

213.3
Retail price index 100.0 103.6 107.7 113.1 111.5 116.7 123.2 126.5 130.5 133.4 134.4


FINANCIAL SUMMARY

Results for year 30 September 2015     30 September 2014    Change    
Shareholders’ funds £312.24m  £336.73m (7.3)%
Net asset value per ordinary share (“NAV”) 742.20p   800.41p  (7.3)%
Share price per ordinary share 673.00p   748.75p  (10.1)%
Share price discount to NAV 9.3%  6.5%

   

Year to    
30 September 2015    
Year to   
30 September 2014   
Revenue return per ordinary share* 15.95p   14.85p 
Capital return per ordinary share* (59.16)p  35.26p 
Total return per ordinary share* (43.21)p  50.11p 
Final dividend per ordinary share** 14.00p   14.00p 
Special dividend per ordinary share** 2.00p   1.00p 
Total dividend per ordinary share** 16.00p   15.00p 

* Based on the weighted average number of shares in issue during the year.
** Proposed dividend for the year.


Year’s high/low
Year to   
30 September 2015   
Year to   
30 September 2014   
NAV                 – high 909.07p  870.31p 
                        – low 729.12p  777.76p 
Share price       – high 843.50p  794.50p 
                         – low 665.00p  690.00p 
Share price discount to NAV
                        – low 1.7% 6.4%
                        – high 11.4% 12.4%

   


Performance
Year to    
30 September 2015    
Year to   
30 September 2014   
NAV Total Return (5.5)% 6.4%
FTSE All-World Europe ex UK Index Total Return*
(1.8)%

5.3%

* In sterling.

The NAV Total Returns are sourced from Edinburgh Partners and include dividends reinvested. The index performance figures are sourced from Thomson Reuters Datastream. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.


Cost of running the Company
Year to   
30 September 2015   
Year to   
30 September 2014   
Ongoing charges* 0.63% 0.61%

* Based on total expenses, excluding finance costs and certain non-recurring items, for the year and average monthly net asset value.


PORTFOLIO OF INVESTMENTS
as at 30 September 2015


Rank
2015

Rank
2014

Company

Sector

Country

Valuation
£’000
% of
Net Assets
2015
% of
Net Assets
2014
1 3 BNP Paribas Financials France 11,399 3.7 3.2
2 2 Roche* Health Care Switzerland 11,253 3.6 3.2
3 18 United Internet Technology Germany 11,080 3.5 2.6
4 - Bayer Basic Materials Germany 10,880 3.5 -
5 6 PostNL Industrials Netherlands 10,732 3.4 3.1
6 5 Novartis Health Care Switzerland 10,649 3.4 3.1
7 13 Ryanair Consumer Services Ireland 10,446 3.3 2.7
8 10 ENI Oil and Gas Italy 10,037 3.2 2.9
9 27 Total Oil and Gas France 10,021 3.2 2.2
10 26 KPN Telecommunications Netherlands 9,675 3.1 2.3
11 17 GAM Financials Switzerland 9,596 3.1 2.6
12 8 Sanofi Health Care France 9,373 3.0 2.9
13 14 Prysmian Industrials Italy 9,301 3.0 2.7
14 11 Royal Dutch Shell A
Oil and Gas

Netherlands

8,999

2.9

2.9
15 - DIA Consumer Services Spain 8,355 2.7 -
16 - Stora Enso Basic Materials Finland 8,325 2.7 -
17 - Telecom Italia Telecommunications Italy 8,294 2.7 -
18 28 Swedbank A Financials Sweden 8,244 2.6 2.1
19 12 Valeo Consumer Goods France 8,198 2.6 2.7
20 25 Unipol Gruppo Finanziario
Financials

Italy

8,157

2.6

2.3
21 38 Leoni Industrials Germany 8,064 2.6 1.5
22 - Commerzbank Financials Germany 7,937 2.5 -
23 15 BBVA Financials Spain 7,804 2.5 2.7
24 - E.ON Utilities Germany 7,699 2.5 -
25 - DNB Financials Norway 7,532 2.4 -
26 - Rocket Internet Financials Germany 7,485 2.4 -
27 29 SAP Technology Germany 7,482 2.4 2.1
28 - Petroleum
Geo-Services

Oil and Gas

Norway

7,350

2.4

-
29 31 Hexagon B Technology Sweden 7,268 2.3 2.1
30 30 ABB Industrials Switzerland 7,062 2.3 2.1
31 34 Aryzta Consumer Goods Switzerland 6,675 2.1 2.0
32 22 Piaggio Consumer Goods Italy 6,019 1.9 2.4
33 36 TDC Telecommunications Denmark 5,945 1.9 1.8
34 9 Delta Lloyd Financials Netherlands 5,916 1.9 2.9
35 24 Orange Telecommunications France 5,770 1.8 2.4
36 37 Outotec Industrials Finland 4,675 1.5 1.8
37 39 Ipsos Consumer Services France 4,531 1.5 1.5
Prior year investments sold during the year 30.3
Total equity investments 308,228 98.7 99.1
Cash and other net assets 4,011 1.3 0.9
Net assets 312,239 100.0 100.0
* The investment is in non-voting preference shares.

Of the ten largest portfolio investments as at 30 September 2015, the valuations at the previous year-end, 30 September 2014, were BNP Paribas £10,739,000; Roche £10,819,000; United Internet £8,704,000; Post NL £10,438,000; Novartis £10,482,000; Ryanair £9,036,000; ENI £9,747,000; Total £7,480,000; and KPN £7,778,000. Bayer was a new purchase made during the year ended 30 September 2015.

Distribution of Investments
as at 30 September 2015 (% of net assets)

Sector distribution

Sector %
Financials 23.7
Industrials 12.8
Oil and Gas 11.7
Health Care 10.0
Telecommunications 9.5
Technology 8.2
Consumer Services 7.5
Consumer Goods 6.6
Basic Materials 6.2
Utilities 2.5
Cash and other net assets 1.3
100.0

Geographical distribution

Country %
Germany 19.4
France 15.8
Switzerland 14.5
Italy 13.4
Netherlands 11.3
Spain 5.2
Sweden 4.9
Norway 4.8
Finland 4.2
Ireland 3.3
Denmark 1.9
Cash and other net assets 1.3
100.0


DIRECTORS

All of the Directors are non-executive and independent of the AIFM and the Investment Manager.

Douglas C P McDougall OBE (Chairman)
William D Eason
Michael B Moule (Senior Independent Director)
Dr Michael T Woodward
 

STRATEGIC REPORT

The Strategic Report has been prepared in accordance with Section 414A of the Companies Act 2006 (the “Act”). Its purpose is to inform members of the Company and help them assess how the Directors have performed their legal duty under Section 172 of the Act to promote the success of the Company.

CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT

Results
After the positive return seen in the prior year, the year under review was a more challenging period for investing in European equities, with much weaker markets in the final six months of our year, together with a currency headwind from a weaker euro. In the year to 30 September 2015, the net asset value (“NAV”) per share of your Company decreased by 7.3% from 800.41p to 742.20p. After taking account of dividends paid in the year of 15.0p, the NAV total return was -5.5%. This compares with the total return of -1.8% from the FTSE All-World Europe ex UK Index, adjusted to sterling.

During the year, the Company’s share price decreased by 10.1% from 748.75p to 673.00p. The share price discount to NAV per share, which had been over 18% within the previous two years, rose in the year under review from 6.5% to 9.3%. The share price total return, taking account of the 15.0p dividend paid in the year, was -8.3%.

From the appointment of Edinburgh Partners as Investment Manager on 1 February 2010, the share price total return to 30 September 2015 was 47.9% and the NAV total return 38.2%. This compares with the total return of 36.8% from the FTSE All-World Europe ex UK Index, adjusted to sterling.

Revenue
There was a 1.10p increase in revenue return per share in the year to 30 September 2015 from 14.85p to 15.95p, an increase of 7.4%. The Company continues to have a low ongoing charges ratio, despite there being an increase from 0.61% last year to 0.63% in the year to 30 September 2015.

Dividends
The Board recommends a final dividend of 14.0p per share and a special dividend of 2.0p per share, a total of 16.0p per share. The proposed total dividend of 16.0p compares with the prior year total dividend of 15.0p. For the prior year, the final dividend was 14.0p and a special dividend of 1.0p was paid. Our aim is to pay a final dividend which we regard as likely to be sustainable and to distribute any further earnings by way of a special dividend.

Subject to the approval of shareholders at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting, these dividends will be paid on 29 January 2016 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 8 January 2016. The ex-dividend date will be 7 January 2016.

Share buybacks
The Board has continued to monitor the discount at which the shares trade relative to the NAV per share. As detailed above in the Results section, there was an increase in the share price discount to NAV per share during the year under review. No share buybacks were made during the year.

The Directors will again propose at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting that the Company’s powers to make purchases of up to 14.99% of its shares in issue be renewed.

Portfolio activity
The most significant sector change was in the consumer goods sector, where exposure was reduced from 15.9% to 6.6%. There was relatively little change in the country exposure of the portfolio. The most significant change was in Norway where, at the prior year-end, there was no exposure and there is now a 4.8% weighting, following the purchases of DNB and Petroleum Geo-Services.

The Company remained almost fully invested throughout the year and cash and other net assets remained at low levels, marginally increasing from 0.9% to 1.3% of net assets during the year. There was a reduction in the number of investments held from 41 to 37. For further commentary on portfolio activity, see the Investment Manager’s Report below.

The Board
In reviewing Board composition during the year, the Board agreed that the appointment of an additional Director would assist with succession planning. After consideration of potential candidates, the Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Michael MacPhee with effect from 1 January 2016. Mr MacPhee was until 2014 an investment partner in Baillie Gifford & Co., heading the firm’s European Department from 2003 to 2008 and thereafter co-managing a global investment strategy. Having been called to the English Bar in 1987, he joined the firm in 1989 and from 1998 to 2014 he was the manager of Mid Wynd International Investment Trust plc. He therefore has an extensive knowledge of financial markets and of investment trusts in particular. The Board recommends a vote in favour of resolution number 5 contained in the Notice of Annual General Meeting for the election of Mr MacPhee as a Director of the Company.

Annual General Meeting
We hope that as many shareholders as possible will attend the Annual General Meeting, which will be held at 11.00 am on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 at Brewers’ Hall, Aldermanbury Square, London EC2V 7HR. We look forward to meeting all shareholders who are able to attend.

Outlook
For much of the year under review, European equity markets favoured companies which have the lowest perceived earnings risk. The outperformance of these stocks was fuelled not by any material changes to their profits outlook, but by their valuations returning to historic relative peaks; this constituted a headwind for our relative performance. However, the Investment Manager believes that a significant number of the stocks within the portfolio remain undervalued and should rebound. We have therefore maintained or added to our positions in the majority of our underperforming stocks and are close to being fully invested.

Douglas McDougall
Chairman

25 November 2015
 

INVESTMENT MANAGER’S REPORT

Economic and Market Overview
A consistent theme of the protracted recovery from the global financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis has been fragility. Immediately after these combined crises, the very construct of the Eurozone was vulnerable and it did not take much, either internally or externally, to damage economic and market confidence. However, in the first half of 2015, the Eurozone economy achieved close to trend economic growth at 1.8%. One encouraging aspect of Europe’s economic performance is that, with Greek risks very much to the fore, the economy appeared to shrug off these concerns and respond to the stimulus which is in place. This stimulus comes primarily from monetary policy but is also aided by the lower oil price and currency. There was therefore optimism that the Eurozone was showing signs of increased resilience to the various risks it faces.

However, as the year progressed and with equity market valuations becoming elevated, worries about global economic growth started to appear. Although these concerns originated with China, they also encompassed the US economy, by now quite far advanced into its own economic growth cycle. The net effect of these factors is that Europe will end the year with a reasonable, albeit slightly sub-trend, year of economic growth. However, there is now more confidence in its ability to withstand negative influences.

In aggregate, European stock markets responded well to the improving growth but gave up these gains as the risks to growth became more apparent. Throughout the year, the markets continued to reward stocks which were delivering stable, predictable growth with ever higher valuations. This has led to what we regard as a significant valuation anomaly and, therefore, an opportunity.

Portfolio Strategy and Activity
At the heart of our investment approach at Edinburgh Partners is a very strong valuation discipline, an approach based on a traditional style of investing. In the current European stock market environment, a significant proportion of the market is trading at a valuation level which we feel is inconsistent with the profit growth these companies are able to sustain. This is the opportunity. We continued to rotate your portfolio away from companies with these characteristics towards companies where we feel expectations have become too depressed. This is usually due to a lack of visibility over the immediate future. A number of examples of portfolio activity during the year are detailed below.

Heineken is a solid company. It has a 60/40 sales exposure to developing/developed markets. Developed beer markets are not growing, but developing markets are. All things considered, we think it can grow its sales at 4% per annum. It operates in competitive markets, not just from other beer brands but also from spirits manufacturers. The company has been reporting the highest operating margins in its history. The valuation you are being asked to pay for this set of factors is a PE ratio of 22x consensus earnings. Quite simply, we think this is too high and this is why we sold the shares earlier in the year.  During the period of our ownership of Heineken, the shares rose 99% and contributed 1.6% to the net asset value.

In the year under review, the disposals of BB Biotech, Danske Bank, GEA, Gerresheimer, Nutreco and Pirelli shared the same characteristics as the Heineken sale, namely a significant contribution to performance but the valuation had become too rich for the expected profit growth. As a consequence of these and other changes, health care sector exposure fell from 17.9% to 10.0% and consumer goods exposure from 15.9% to 6.6% during the year.

In October 2014, we purchased the shares of Rocket Internet when they became a public company. Rocket Internet gives the portfolio a diversified exposure to online consumer companies targeting the disruption of existing distribution channels. As many of its individual investments are at an early stage, they are still loss-making. This fact, combined with some poor communication and reporting to the stock market, contributed to a difficult year for the shares. However, the constant throughout is that their underlying businesses grew considerably and thus became more valuable as the year progressed. By the year-end, the shares were sitting at over a 40% discount to what we consider to be a conservative asset value. We bought shares throughout the year and consider the market’s assessment of the company’s value to be wrong.

A sector which has been out of favour but which we believe offers a very attractive risk/reward profile is oil and gas. The heart of the investment case in this sector is that a supply shortage of oil over the next few years looks to be possible. This could cause a sharp rise in the oil price and a rebound in the earnings of most companies operating in the sector. The reasons why we think this is probable include natural decline rates in oil wells, significant capital expenditure cuts, withdrawal of funding and the consequent reduction in productive capacity.

Throughout the year we added to our existing positions in the sector as well as buying two new oil-related positions, both in Norwegian companies. DNB is the largest bank in Norway and is a barometer of the health of the petro-dependent Norwegian economy. Petroleum Geo-Services provides marine seismic testing services for its clients. This is a cyclical service as customer spending depends on exploration activity. If the company can recover its margins back to normalised levels, it would be trading on a PE ratio of 4x potential recovered earnings. These positions will provide indirect and very direct exposure respectively to any recovery in the oil price and the Norwegian krone. The combined portfolio exposure to the sector at the year-end, including DNB, was 14.7%, compared to 8.0% at the previous year-end. It is worth noting the valuation disparity of Petroleum Geo-Services to Heineken, as this is illustrative of the valuation opportunities currently available in European stock markets.

Rocket Internet, our oil and gas sector exposure, and other positions initiated during the year have some form of nearer-term uncertainty over their outlook. However, our process compels us to take a longer-term view as well as providing us with an anchor on the valuation of a company. This gives us the confidence to keep buying when the market is taking a different short-term view.

One share where we realised a significant loss during the year was Volkswagen. As was widely reported, Volkswagen disclosed the fraudulent manipulation of emissions tests. The implications for the company go far beyond unquantifiable litigation and regulatory fines. The company will have to increase its research and development spending, provide additional dealer support and augment capital in its financial services arm as well as face challenges with its diesel engine line-up and general brand perception.  In our estimation, the combined effect of these issues will significantly lower the long-term profit potential of the group and this is why we sold the shares.

Outlook
Whilst there is still significant monetary stimulus in place around the world, as well as a significant debt overhang, we expect conditions to be favourable for growth and the eventual return of inflation. This should be positive for the performance of the portfolio, which we have positioned for the value opportunities currently available within European stock markets. Your portfolio continues to be relatively fully invested.

Dale Robertson
Edinburgh Partners

25 November 2015
 

Other Statutory Information

Objective

The objective of the Company is to achieve long–term capital growth through a diversified portfolio of Continental European securities.

Strategy and business model

Investment policy
The Board believes that investment in the diverse and increasingly accessible markets of this region provides opportunities for capital growth over the long-term. At the same time, it considers the structure of the Company as a UK-listed investment trust, with fixed capital and an independent Board of Directors, to be well–suited to investors seeking longer–term returns.

The Board recognises that investment in some European countries can be riskier than in others. Investment risks are diversified through holding a wide range of securities in different countries and industrial sectors. No more than 10% of the value of the portfolio in aggregate may be held in securities in those countries which are not included in the FTSE All-World European indices.

The Board has the authority to hedge the Company’s exposure to movements in the rate of exchange of currencies, principally the euro, in which the Company’s investments are denominated, against sterling, its reporting currency. However, it is not generally the Board’s practice to do this and the portfolio is not currently hedged.

No investments in unquoted stocks can be made without the prior approval of the Board. The level of gearing within the portfolio is agreed by the Board and should not exceed 20% in normal market conditions.

No more than 10% of the total assets of the Company may be invested in other listed investment companies (including investment trusts) except in such other investment companies which themselves have stated that they will invest no more than 15% of their total assets in other listed investment companies, in which case the limit is 15%.

The Investment Manager’s compliance with the limits set out in the investment policy is monitored by the Board and the AIFM.

Investment strategy
Investments are selected for the portfolio only after extensive research, which the Investment Manager believes to be key. The whole process through which an equity must pass in order to be included in the portfolio is very rigorous. Only a security where the Investment Manager believes that the price will be significantly higher in the future will pass the selection process. The Company’s Investment Manager believes the key to successful stock selection is to identify the long–term value of a company’s shares and to have the patience to hold the shares until that value is appreciated by other investors.  Identifying long–term value involves detailed analysis of a company’s earning prospects over a five-year time horizon. The portfolio will normally consist of 40 to 50 investments.

Business and status of the Company
The principal activity of the Company is to carry on business as an investment trust.

The Company is registered as a public limited company and is an investment company within the terms of Section 833 of the Act. The Company has been approved by HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) as an investment trust under Sections 1158 and 1159 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 (“CTA”), subject to there being no subsequent serious breaches of the regulations. In the opinion of the Directors, the Company has directed its affairs so as to enable it to continue to qualify for such approval.

The Company’s shares have a premium listing on the Official List of the UK Listing Authority and are traded on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The Company has a secondary listing on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

The Company is a member of the AIC, a trade body which promotes investment companies and also develops best practice for its members.

Portfolio analysis
A detailed review of how the Company’s assets have been invested is contained in the Investment Manager’s Report above. A detailed list of all the Company’s investments is contained in the Portfolio of Investments above. The Portfolio of Investments details that the Company held 37 investments, excluding cash and other net assets, as at 30 September 2015, with the largest representing 3.7% of net assets, thus ensuring that the Company has a suitable spread of investment risk. A sector and geographical distribution of investments is shown above.

Results and dividends
The results for the year are set out in the Income Statement and the Reconciliation of Movements in Shareholders’ Funds below.

For the year ended 30 September 2015, the net revenue return attributable to shareholders was £6.7 million (2014: £6.2 million) and the net capital return was -£24.9 million (2014: £14.8 million). Total shareholders’ funds decreased by 7.3% to £312.2 million (2014: £336.7 million).

Details of the dividends recommended by the Board are set out above in the Chairman’s Statement and below.

Key performance indicators
At each Board meeting, the Directors consider a number of performance measures to assess the Company’s success in achieving its objective. The key performance indicators used to measure progress and performance of the Company over time are established industry measures and are as follows:

Net asset value
In the year to 30 September 2015, the net asset value per share decreased by 7.3% from 800.41p to 742.20p. After taking account of dividends paid in the year of 15.0p, the net asset value total return was -5.5%. This compares with the total return of -1.8% from the FTSE All-World Europe ex UK Index, adjusted to sterling.

The net asset value total return since the appointment of Edinburgh Partners as Investment Manager on 1 February 2010 to 30 September 2015 was 38.2%. This compares with the total return of 36.8% from the FTSE All-World Europe ex UK Index, adjusted to sterling.

Share price
In the year to 30 September 2015, the Company’s share price decreased by 10.1% from 748.75p to 673.00p. The share price total return, taking account of the 15.0p dividend paid in the year, was -8.3%.

Share price premium/discount to net asset value per share
The share price discount to net asset value per share widened from 6.5% to 9.3% in the year to 30 September 2015.

Revenue return per ordinary share
There was an increase in the revenue per share in the year to 30 September 2015 of 7.4% from 14.85p to 15.95p.

Dividends per ordinary share
The Directors are recommending a final dividend of 14.0p per ordinary share and a special dividend of 2.0p per ordinary share, making a total dividend of 16.0p per ordinary share. This compares with a prior year total dividend of 15.0p per ordinary share.

Ongoing charges
The Company continues to have low expenses. The ongoing charges ratio was 0.63% (2014: 0.61%) in the year to 30 September 2015.

The longer–term records of the key performance indicators are shown in the Ten Year Record above and in the full Annual Report and Financial Statements.

The Board also takes into consideration how the Company performs compared to other investment trusts investing in Europe.

Management Agreement
In order to comply with the Alternative Investment Fund Managers’ Directive (“AIFMD”), the Company appointed Edinburgh Partners AIFM Limited as its AIFM with effect from 17 July 2014. Edinburgh Partners AIFM Limited has been approved as an AIFM by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). With the approval of the Directors of the Company, the AIFM appointed Edinburgh Partners as Investment Manager to the Company pursuant to a delegation agreement with effect from 17 July 2014.

The AIFM receives a management fee of 0.55% per annum of the Company’s equity market capitalisation, payable monthly in arrears.

The Management Agreement may be terminated by either party giving three months’ written notice. No additional compensation is payable to the AIFM on the termination of this agreement other than the fees payable during the notice period. No performance fee will be paid. Further details relating to the agreement are detailed in note 3 of the Financial Statements below.

The AIFM is required to make remuneration disclosures in respect of the AIFM’s first relevant reporting period, the year ending 29 February 2016, and these will be made available in the Company’s Annual Reports and Financial Statements issued after that date. The remuneration policy of the AIFM is available on request.

Continuing appointment of the AIFM
The Board keeps the performance of the AIFM under review through the Audit and Management Engagement Committee. As the AIFM has delegated the investment management function to Edinburgh Partners, the performance of the Investment Manager is also regularly reviewed. It is the opinion of the Directors that the continuing appointment of the AIFM on the terms agreed is in the interests of shareholders as a whole. The reasons for this view are that the long-term investment performance is satisfactory relative to that of the markets in which the Company invests and the approach of the Investment Manager is convincing. The remuneration of the AIFM is reasonable both in absolute terms and compared to that of managers of comparable investment companies. The Directors believe that by paying the management fee calculated on a market capitalisation basis, rather than a percentage of assets basis, the interests of the AIFM are more closely aligned with those of shareholders.

Risk management by the AIFM
As required under the AIFMD, the AIFM has established and maintains a permanent and independent risk management function to ensure that there is a comprehensive and effective risk management policy in place and to monitor compliance with risk limits. This risk policy covers the risks associated with the management of the investment portfolio, and the AIFM reviews and approves the adequacy and effectiveness of the policy on at least an annual basis, including the risk management processes and controls and limits for each risk area.

The AIFM sets risk limits that take into account the risk profile of the Company’s investment portfolio, as well as its investment objectives and strategy. The AIFM monitors the risk limits, including leverage, and periodically assesses the portfolio’s sensitivity to key risks.

The AIFM reviews risk limit reports at regular meetings of its Risk Committee.

Principal risks and uncertainties
The Board considers that the following are the principal financial risks associated with investing in the Company: investment and strategy risk, discount volatility risk, market risk (comprising interest rate risk, currency risk and price risk), liquidity risk, credit risk and gearing risk. An explanation of these risks and how they are managed and the policy and practice with regard to financial instruments are contained in note 18 of the Financial Statements below.

In addition, the Board also considers the following as principal risks:

Regulatory risk
Relevant legislation and regulations which apply to the Company include the Act, the CTA, the Listing Rules of the FCA and the AIFMD. A breach of the CTA could result in the Company losing its status as an investment trust and becoming subject to capital gains tax, whilst a breach of the Listing Rules of the FCA might result in censure by the FCA and suspension of the listing of the Company’s shares on the London Stock Exchange.

At each Board meeting the status of the Company is considered and discussed, so as to ensure that all regulations are being adhered to by the Company and its service providers.

The Board is not aware of any breaches of laws or regulations during the year under review and up to the date of this report.

Operational risk
In common with most other investment companies, the Company has no employees; the Company therefore relies upon the services provided by third parties. There are a number of operational risks associated with the fact that third parties undertake the Company’s administration, depositary and custody functions. The main risk is that the third parties may fail to ensure that statutory requirements, such as compliance with the Act and the Listing Rules of the FCA, are met.

The Board regularly receives and reviews management information from third parties which the Company Secretary compiles. In addition, each of the third parties provides a copy of its report on internal controls (ISAE 3402, SSAE 16 or equivalent) to the Board, through the Audit and Management Engagement Committee, each year to ensure that adequate controls are in place and are operating satisfactorily.

Other financial risk
It is possible that inappropriate accounting policies or failure to comply with current or new accounting standards may lead to a breach of regulations.

The AIFM employs independent administrators to prepare all financial statements and the Audit and Management Engagement Committee meets with the independent auditors at least once a year to discuss annual audit issues, including appropriate accounting policies.

The Board undertakes a robust annual assessment and review of all the risks stated above and in note 18 of the Financial Statements below, together with a review of any new risks which may have arisen during the year, including those that would threaten its business model, future performance, solvency or liquidity. These risks are formalised within the Company’s risk assessment matrix.

Internal financial control
In accordance with guidance issued to directors of listed companies, the Directors confirm that they have carried out a review of the effectiveness of the systems of internal financial control during the year ended 30 September 2015, as set out in the full Annual Report and Financial Statements. There were no matters arising from this review that required further investigation and no significant failings or weaknesses were identified.

Leverage
Leverage is defined in the AIFMD as any method by which the Company increases its exposure, whether through borrowing of cash or securities, or leverage embedded in derivative positions or by any other means. The Company did not have any borrowings or use any derivative instruments during the year ended 30 September 2015.

In accordance with the detailed requirements of the AIFMD, leverage has been measured in terms of the Company’s exposure, and is expressed as a ratio of net asset value. The AIFMD requires this ratio to be calculated in accordance with both the Gross Method and the Commitment Method. Details of these methods of calculation can be found by referring to the AIFMD. In summary, these methods express leverage as a ratio of the exposure of debt, non-sterling currency, equity or currency hedging and derivatives exposure against the net asset value. The principal difference between the two methods is that the Commitment Method enables derivative instruments to be netted off to reflect hedging arrangements and the exposure is effectively reduced, while the Gross Method aggregates the exposure.

The AIFMD introduced a requirement for the AIFM to set maximum levels of leverage for the Company. The Company’s AIFM has set a maximum limit of 1.20 for both the Gross and Commitment Methods of calculating leverage. However, the AIFM anticipates that the figures are likely to be lower than this under normal market conditions. At 30 September 2015, the Company’s Gross ratio was 1.02 and its Commitment ratio was 1.02. In accordance with the AIFMD, any changes to the maximum level of leverage set by the Company will be communicated to shareholders.

Depositary Agreement
The Board appointed Northern Trust Global Services Limited to act as its depositary (the “Depositary”) under an agreement dated 22 July 2014 (the “Depositary Agreement”), to which the AIFM is also a party. The Depositary is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Custody services are provided by The Northern Trust Company (as a delegate of the Depositary). A fee of 0.01% per annum of the net assets of the Company, plus fees in relation to safekeeping and other activities undertaken to facilitate the investment activity of the Company, are payable to the Depositary. The Company and the Depositary may terminate the Depositary Agreement at any time by giving six months’ written notice. The Depositary may only be removed from office when a new depositary is appointed by the Company.

Main trends and future development
A review of the main features of the year and the outlook for the coming year is to be found in the Chairman’s Statement and the Investment Manager’s Report above. The Board’s main focus is on the investment return and approach, with attention paid to the integrity and success of the investment approach and on factors which may have an impact on this approach.

Forward-looking statements
This Strategic Report contains “forward-looking statements” with respect to the Company’s plans and its current goals and expectations relating to its future financial condition, performance and results. By their nature, all forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to future events that are beyond the Company’s control. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those estimated by the forward looking statements include, but are not limited to:

  • Global economic conditions and equity market performance and prices, particularly those in Europe
  • Changes in Government policies and monetary and interest rate policies worldwide, particularly those in Europe
  • Changes to regulations and taxes worldwide, particularly in Europe
  • Currency exchange rates
  • Use of gearing
  • The Company’s success in managing its assets and business to manage the above factors.

As a result, the Company’s actual future condition, performance and results may differ materially from the plans set out in the Company’s forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained within this review or any other forward-looking statements it makes.

Employees, human rights and community issues
The Board recognises the requirement under Section 414C of the Act to detail information about employees, human rights and community issues, including information about any policies it has in relation to these matters and the effectiveness of these policies. These requirements do not apply to the Company as it has no employees, all the Directors are non–executive and it has outsourced all its functions to third party service providers. The Company has therefore not reported further in respect of these provisions.

Gender diversity
As at 30 September 2015, the Board of Directors of the Company comprised four male Directors. The appointment of any new Director is made on the basis of merit.

Social, environmental and ethical policy
The Company seeks to invest in companies that are well-managed, with high standards of corporate governance, as the Directors believe this creates the proper conditions to enhance long–term value for shareholders. The Company adopts a positive approach to corporate governance and engagement with companies.

In pursuit of the above objective, the Directors believe that proxy voting is an important part of the corporate governance process. It is the policy of the Company to vote, as far as is practicable, at all shareholder meetings of investee companies. The Company follows the relevant regulatory and legislative requirements, with the guiding principles being to make proxy voting decisions which favour proposals that will lead to maximising shareholder value while avoiding any conflicts of interest. To this end, voting decisions take into account corporate governance, including disclosure and transparency, board composition and independence, control structures, remuneration, social and environmental issues.

The day-to-day management of the Company’s business has been delegated by the AIFM to the Company’s Investment Manager, Edinburgh Partners, which has an Environmental, SRI and Corporate Governance (“ESG”) policy in place, which can be found on its website at www.edinburghpartners.com.

The assessment of the quality of investee companies in relation to environmental considerations, socially responsible investment and corporate governance is embedded in the Investment Manager’s stock selection process.

On behalf of the Board
Douglas McDougall
Chairman

25 November 2015
 

EXTRACTS FROM THE DIRECTORS’ REPORT

Share capital
The Company neither issued shares nor bought back shares for cancellation during the year ended 30 September 2015. As at 30 September 2015, and as at the date of this report, the Company had 42,069,371 ordinary shares of 25p each in issue.

At general meetings of the Company, on a poll, one vote is attached to each ordinary share in issue.

Going concern
The Company’s business activities, together with the factors likely to affect its future development, performance and position, are set out in the Strategic Report above. In addition, notes 18 and 19 of the Financial Statements below include the Company’s objectives, policies and processes for managing its capital; its financial risk management objectives; details of its financial instruments; and its risk exposure. The Company’s principal risks are detailed in the Strategic Report above. The Company’s assets consist principally of a diversified portfolio of listed European equity shares, which in most circumstances are realisable within a short period of time and exceed its liabilities to creditors by a significant amount.

The Directors have concluded that the Company has adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future. For this reason, they have adopted the going concern basis in preparing the Financial Statements.

Long-term Viability Statement
In accordance with the February 2015 revision to the AIC Code, the Directors have assessed the prospects of the Company over a longer period than the one year required by the ‘Going Concern’ provision of the Code. The Board considers that, for a company with an investment objective to achieve long-term capital growth through a diversified portfolio of Continental European securities, a period of five years is an appropriate period to consider for the purpose of the Long-term Viability Statement.

The Board has undertaken an assessment of its future prospects in order that the Directors may state that they have a reasonable expectation that the Company will be able to continue in operation and meet its liabilities as they fall due over the period of their assessment.

In making its assessment, the Board considered a number of factors, including those detailed below:

  • the Company’s current financial position;
  • the principal risks the Company faces, as detailed in the Strategic Report above;
  • that the portfolio comprises principally of investments traded on major European stock markets and that there is a satisfactory spread of investments. There is no expectation that the nature of the investments held within the portfolio will be materially different in the future;
  • that the expenses of the Company are predictable and modest in comparison with the assets and there are no capital commitments foreseen which would alter that position;
  • that the Company has no employees except for the Directors, who are all non-executive and consequently do not have redundancy or other employment-related liabilities or responsibilities;
  • that European stock markets will continue to be a significant component of international stock markets and that investors will still wish to have an exposure to such investments;
  • that there will continue to be a demand for closed-ended investment trusts from investors;
  • that regulation will not increase to a level that makes the running of the Company uneconomical in comparison to other competitive products; and
  • that the performance of the Company will continue to be satisfactory and, should performance be less than the Board considers to be acceptable, it has appropriate powers to replace the AIFM.

As a consequence of its assessment, the Board considers that there is a reasonable expectation that the Company will be able to continue in operation and meet its liabilities as they fall due over the five year period of their assessment.


The full Annual Report and Financial Statements contain the following statements regarding responsibility for the Annual Report and Financial Statements.

MANAGEMENT REPORT AND STATEMENT OF DIRECTORS’ RESPONSIBILITIES IN RELATION TO THE ANNUAL REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Management report
Listed companies are required by the FCA’s Disclosure and Transparency Rules (the “Rules”) to include a management report within their Annual Report and Financial Statements.

The information required to be included in the management report for the purpose of these Rules is detailed in the Strategic Report above, including the Chairman’s Statement and the Investment Manager’s Report. Therefore no separate management report has been included.

Statement of Directors’ responsibilities
The Directors are responsible for preparing the Annual Report and the Financial Statements in accordance with applicable law and regulations.

Company law requires the Directors to prepare Financial Statements for each financial year. Under that law, the Directors have prepared the Financial Statements in accordance with United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (United Kingdom Accounting Standards and applicable law) (“UK GAAP”). Under company law, the Directors must not approve the Financial Statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Company and of the profit or loss of the Company for that period. In preparing these Financial Statements, the Directors are required to:

  • select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently;
  • make judgements and accounting estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
  • state whether applicable UK Accounting Standards have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the Financial Statements respectively; and
  • prepare the Financial Statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Company will continue in business.

The Directors are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records that are sufficient to show and explain the Company’s transactions and disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Company and enable them to ensure that the Financial Statements comply with the Act and include the information required by the Listing Rules of the FCA. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Company and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.

Each of the Directors, whose names are set out above, confirms that, to the best of his knowledge:

  • the Financial Statements, which have been prepared in accordance with UK GAAP, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and net return of the Company; and
  • the Strategic Report and the Directors’ Report include a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the Company, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that it faces.

The Annual Report and Financial Statements, taken as a whole, are considered by the Board to be fair, balanced and understandable and provide the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Company’s position and performance, business model and strategy.

On behalf of the Board
Douglas McDougall
Chairman

25 November 2015
 

NON-STATUTORY ACCOUNTS

The financial information set out below does not constitute the Company’s statutory Financial Statements for the year ended 30 September 2015 but is derived from those Financial Statements. Statutory Financial Statements for the year ended 30 September 2015 will be delivered to the Registrar of Companies in due course. The Auditors have reported on those Financial Statements; their report was (i) unqualified, (ii) did not include a reference to any matters to which the Auditors drew attention by way of emphasis without qualifying their report and (iii) did not contain a statement under Section 498 (2) or (3) of the Companies Act 2006. The text of the Auditors’ report can be found in the Company’s full Annual Report and Financial Statements on the Company’s website at www.theeuropeaninvestmenttrust.com and on the website of Edinburgh Partners at www.edinburghpartners.com.


INCOME STATEMENT
for the year ended 30 September 2015

             2015                2014  

Notes
Revenue 
£’000 
Capital 
£’000 
Total 
£’000 
Revenue 
£’000 
Capital 
£’000 
Total 
£’000 
(Losses)/gains on investments at fair value
9


(23,876)

(23,876)

-  

15,612 

15,612 
Foreign exchange losses (41) (1,012) (1,053) (60) (779) (839)
Income 2 9,540  9,540  9,528  9,528 
Management fee 3 (1,785) (1,785) (1,752) (1,752)
Other expenses 4 (417) (417) (367) (367)
Net return before finance costs and taxation
7,297 

(24,888)

(17,591)

7,349 

14,833 

22,182 
Finance costs 5 (16) (16) (95) (95)
Net return before taxation 7,281  (24,888) (17,607) 7,254  14,833  22,087 
Tax on ordinary activities 6 (573) (573) (1,008) (1,008)
Net return attributable to shareholders
6,708 

(24,888)

(18,180)

6,246 

14,833 

21,079 
pence  pence  pence  pence  pence  pence 
Return per ordinary share* 8 15.95  (59.16) (43.21) 14.85  35.26  50.11 

* Based on the weighted average number of shares in issue during the year. The return per ordinary share is both the basic and diluted return per ordinary share.

All revenue and capital items in the above statement derive from continuing operations.

The total column of this statement is the Profit and Loss Account of the Company. The revenue and capital columns are prepared under guidance published by the AIC.

A separate Statement of Total Recognised Gains and Losses has not been prepared as all such gains and losses are included in the Income Statement.

The notes below form part of these Financial Statements.


BALANCE SHEET
as at 30 September 2015


Notes
2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Fixed assets investments:
Investments at fair value through profit or loss 9 308,228 333,696 
Current assets:
Debtors 11 2,722 784 
Cash at bank and short-term deposits 8,451 5,026 
11,173 5,810 
Current liabilities:
Creditors: amounts falling due within one year 12 7,162 2,777 
Net current assets 4,011 3,033 
Net assets 312,239 336,729 
Capital and reserves:
Called-up share capital 13 10,517 10,517 
Share premium account 123,749 123,749 
Capital redemption reserve 8,294 8,294 
Capital reserve 158,690 183,578 
Revenue reserve 10,989 10,591 
Total equity shareholders’ funds 312,239 336,729 
pence  pence 
Net asset value per ordinary share* 14 742.20  800.41 

* The net asset value per ordinary share is both the basic and diluted net asset value per ordinary share.

The Financial Statements were approved and authorised for issue by the Board of Directors of The European Investment Trust plc on 25 November 2015 and were signed on its behalf by:

Douglas McDougall
Chairman

Registered in England and Wales No. 1055384

The notes below form part of these Financial Statements.
 

RECONCILIATION OF MOVEMENTS IN SHAREHOLDERS’ FUNDS
for the year ended 30 September 2015




Notes
Called–up 
share 
capital 
£’000 
Share 
premium 
account 
£’000 
Capital 
redemption 
reserve 
£’000 

Capital 
reserve 
£’000 

Revenue 
reserve 
£’000 


Total 
£’000 
Year ended 30 September 2015
At 1 October 2014 10,517  123,749  8,294  183,578  10,591  336,729 
Net return after taxation for the year



(24,888)

6,708 

(18,180)
Dividends paid 7 (6,310) (6,310)
At 30 September 2015 10,517  123,749  8,294  158,690  10,989  312,239 
Year ended 30 September 2014
At 1 October 2013 10,517  123,749  8,294  168,745  11,917  323,222 
Net return after taxation for the year



14,833 

6,246 

21,079 
Dividends paid 7 (7,572) (7,572)
At 30 September 2014 10,517  123,749  8,294  183,578  10,591  336,729 

The notes below form part of these Financial Statements.
 

CASH FLOW STATEMENT
for the year ended 30 September 2015


Notes
2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Operating activities:
Investment income received 9,379  9,465 
Other income received
Management fees paid (1,932) (1,861)
Other cash payments (398) (387)
Net cash inflow from operating activities 15 7,051  7,220 
Servicing of finance:
Finance costs (16) (95)
Taxation:
Irrecoverable overseas tax paid (574) (877)
Recoverable overseas tax paid (132) (161)
Total taxation paid (706) (1,038)
Capital expenditure and financial investment:
Purchases of investments (131,449) (162,177)
Sales of investments 135,867  166,922 
Exchange gains on settlement 570  39 
Net cash inflow from capital and financial investment 4,988  4,784 
Equity dividends paid 7 (6,310) (7,572)
Net cash inflow before financing 5,007  3,299 
Financing:
Payment for own shares purchased and cancelled
Increase in cash 16 5,007  3,299 

The notes below form part of these Financial Statements.
 

NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
at 30 September 2015

1. Accounting policies

Basis of accounting
The Financial Statements are prepared on a going concern basis, under the historical cost convention (modified to include fixed asset investments at fair value), in accordance with the Act, UK GAAP and with the AIC SORP relating to the Financial Statements of Investment Trust Companies and Venture Capital Trusts. The Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with the applicable accounting standards. The principal accounting policies detailed below have been applied consistently throughout the period. As detailed above, the Directors consider that it is appropriate for the Financial Statements to be prepared on a going concern basis.

Income recognition
Dividend and other investment income is included as revenue (except where, in the opinion of the Directors, its nature indicates it should be recognised as capital) on the ex-dividend date or, where no ex-dividend date is quoted, when the Company’s right to receive payment is established. Income arising on holdings of fixed income securities is recognised on a time apportionment basis so as to reflect the effective interest rate on that security. Deposit interest is included on an accruals basis.

Dividends are accounted for in accordance with Financial Reporting Standard 16: “Current Taxation” on the basis of income actually receivable, without adjustment for the tax credit attaching to the dividends. Dividends from overseas companies are shown gross of withholding tax.

Where the Company has elected to receive its dividends in the form of additional shares rather than in cash (scrip dividends), the amount of the cash dividend foregone is recognised as income. Any excess in the value of the shares received over the amount of the cash dividend foregone is recognised in the capital reserve.

Borrowings
Loans and overdrafts are recorded at the proceeds received, net of issue costs, irrespective of the duration of the instrument.

Finance costs, including interest, are accrued using the effective interest rate method. See below for allocation of finance costs within the Income Statement.

Expenses and finance costs
All expenses are accounted for on an accruals basis. All operating expenses including finance costs and management fees are charged through revenue in the Income Statement except costs that are incidental to the acquisition or disposal of investments, which are charged to capital in the Income Statement. Transaction costs are included within the gains and losses on investment sales, as disclosed in the Income Statement. No performance fees are charged by the Investment Manager.

Investments
All investments held by the Company are classified as ‘fair value through profit or loss’. Investments are initially recognised at cost, being the fair value of the consideration given. Interest accrued on fixed interest rate securities at the date of purchase or sale is accounted for separately as accrued income, so that the value or purchase price or sale proceeds is shown net of such items.

After initial recognition, investments are measured at fair value, with changes in the fair value of investments and impairment of investments recognised in the Income Statement and allocated to capital. Gains and losses on investments sold are calculated as the difference between sales proceeds and cost.

For investments actively traded in organised financial markets, fair value is generally determined by reference to stock exchange quoted market bid prices at the close of business on the Balance Sheet date, without adjustment for transaction costs necessary to realise the asset. Investments which are not quoted or which are not frequently traded are stated at Directors’ best estimate of fair value, using the guidelines on valuation published by the International Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. This represents the Directors’ view of the amount for which an asset could be exchanged between knowledgeable willing parties in an arm’s length transaction. This does not assume that the underlying business is saleable at the reporting date or that its current shareholders have any intention to sell their holding in the near future. Where no reliable fair value can be estimated, investment may be carried at cost less any provision for impairment.

Cash at bank and short-term deposits
Cash at bank and short-term deposits comprises cash in hand and demand deposits that mature within three months. The carrying value of cash at bank and short-term deposits is equal to its fair value.

Foreign currency
The functional and presentational currency of the Company is sterling because that is the currency of the primary economic environment in which the Company operates.

Transactions denominated in foreign currencies are converted to sterling at the actual exchange rate as at the date of the transaction. Monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies at the year-end are reported at the rate of exchange to sterling at the Balance Sheet date. Any gain or loss arising from a change in exchange rate subsequent to the date of the transaction is included as an exchange gain or loss in the capital reserve or in revenue depending on whether the gain or loss is of a capital or revenue nature.

Taxation
The charge for taxation is based on the net return for the year and takes into account taxation deferred or accelerated because of timing differences between the treatment of certain items for accounting and taxation purposes. Full provision for deferred taxation is made under the liability method, without discounting, on all timing differences that have arisen but not been reversed by the Balance Sheet date, unless such provision is not permitted by Financial Reporting Standard 19: “Deferred Tax”. This is subject to deferred tax assets only being recognised if it is considered more likely than not that there will be suitable profits from which the future reversal of the underlying timing differences can be deducted. Timing differences are differences arising between the Company’s taxable profits and its results as stated in the Financial Statements which are capable of reversal in one or more subsequent years.

Capital redemption reserve
The nominal value of ordinary share capital purchased and cancelled is transferred out of called-up share capital and into the capital redemption reserve on the relevant trade date.

Capital reserve
The following are accounted for in this reserve:

  • gains and losses on the realisation of investments;
  • increases and decreases in the valuation of investments held at the year-end;
  • realised foreign exchange differences of a capital nature;
  • unrealised foreign exchange differences of a capital nature;
  • costs of professional advice (including related irrecoverable VAT) relating to the capital structure of the Company;
  • other capital charges and credits charged or credited to this account in accordance with the above policies; and
  • costs of purchasing ordinary share capital.

Dividends payable to shareholders
Under Financial Reporting Standard 21: “Events after the Balance Sheet Date”, final and special dividends are recognised as a liability in the year in which they have been approved by shareholders in a general meeting.
 

2. Income

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Income from investments:
Overseas dividends 9,538  9,525 
Other income
Total income 9,540  9,528 


3. Management fee

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Management fee 1,785  1,752 

On 17 July 2014, the Company appointed Edinburgh Partners AIFM Limited as its AIFM. Under the Management Agreement, the AIFM is entitled to a fee paid monthly in arrears at a rate of 0.55% per annum of the equity market capitalisation of the Company. Under the Management Agreement no performance fee is payable.

During the year ended 30 September 2015, the management fees payable to the AIFM totalled £1,785,000 (2014: £358,000). At 30 September 2015, there was £141,000 outstanding payable to the AIFM (2014: £287,000) in relation to management fees.

Edinburgh Partners was appointed to provide management, marketing and general administrative services to the Company with effect from 1 February 2010 until 16 July 2014. Under the agreement, Edinburgh Partners was entitled to a fee paid quarterly in arrears, at the rate of 0.55% per annum of the equity market capitalisation of the Company. Under the agreement no performance fee was payable during this period.

During the year ended 30 September 2015, no management fees were payable to Edinburgh Partners (2014: £1,394,000). At 30 September 2015, there was £nil outstanding payable to Edinburgh Partners (2014: £nil) in relation to management fees. At 30 September 2015, there was £4,000 (2014: £nil) outstanding to Edinburgh Partners in relation to expenses incurred on behalf of the Company. This cost is included in other expenses as detailed in note 4 of these Financial Statements.


4. Other expenses

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Audit services 20  20 
Directors’ remuneration* 92  87 
Other 305  260 
417  367 

* See the Directors’ Remuneration Report in the full Annual Report and Financial Statements.


5. Finance costs

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Negative interest on cash balances 16 
Loan non-utilisation fee 95 
16  95 


6. Tax on ordinary activities

a) Analysis of charge for the year  2015                     2014                  
Revenue 
£’000 
Capital 
£’000 
Total 
£’000 
Revenue 
£’000 
Capital 
£’000 
Total 
£’000 
Current tax:
UK corporation tax -  
Overseas tax suffered 573  573  1,008  1,008 
Total tax charge for the year 573  573  1,008  1,008 

b) The standard rate of corporation tax in the UK (“corporation tax rate”) was 21% in the year to 31 March 2015 and is 20% in the year to 31 March 2016. Accordingly, the Company’s profits for the year ended 30 September 2015 are taxed at an effective rate of 20.5% (2014: 22%). The corporation tax rate is expected to remain at 20% for the year beginning 1 April 2016 and, as a consequence, the effective rate of corporation tax for the Company for the year ending 30 September 2016 would be 20%.

The taxation charge for the Company for the year ended 30 September 2015 is lower (2014: lower) than the effective rate of 20.5% (2014: 22%). The differences are explained below:

          2015             2014   
Revenue 
£’000 
Capital 
£’000 
Total 
£’000 
Revenue 
£’000 
Capital 
£’000 
Total 
£’000 
Net return before taxation 7,281  (24,888) (17,607) 7,254  14,833  22,087 
Theoretical tax at UK corporation tax rate of 20.5%
    (2014: 22%)


1,493 


(5,102)


(3,609)


1,596 


3,263 


4,859 
Effects of:
- Foreign dividends that are not taxable
(1,895) 


(1,895) 

(1,951)


(1,951)
- Non-taxable investment gains/(losses)
-  

5,102 

5,102  


(3,263)

(3,263)
- Disallowed expenses 1  
- Unrelieved management expenses
401  


401  

354 


354 
- Overseas tax suffered 573   573   1,008  1,008 
573   573   1,008  1,008 

c) Factors that may affect future tax charges

At 30 September 2015, the Company had unrelieved management expenses of £6,312,000 (30 September 2014: £2,577,000) that are available to offset future taxable revenue. An additional £1,779,000 of expenses available to offset future taxable revenue and relating to withholding tax expensed in the Company’s tax returns have been reflected in this figure. A deferred tax asset of £1,262,000 (2014: £515,000) has not been recognised because the Company is not expected to generate sufficient taxable income in future periods in excess of the available deductible expenses and accordingly the Company is unlikely to be able to reduce future tax liabilities through the use of existing surplus losses.

Deferred tax is not provided on capital gains and losses arising on the revaluation or disposal of investments because the Company meets (and intends to continue for the foreseeable future to meet) the conditions for approval as an investment trust company.
 

7. Dividends


Declared and paid

Payment date
2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Final dividend for the year ended 30 September 2014 of 14.0p 31 January 2015 5,889 
Special dividend for the year ended 30 September 2014 of 1.0p 31 January 2015 421 
Final dividend for the year ended 30 September 2013 of 14.0p 31 January 2014 5,889 
Special dividend for the year ended 30 September 2013 of 4.0p 31 January 2014 1,683 
6,310  7,572 

The Directors recommend a final dividend in respect of the year ended 30 September 2015 of 14.0p and a special dividend of 2.0p payable on 29 January 2016 to all shareholders on the register at the close of business on 8 January 2016, a total of 16.0p (2014: 15.0p). The ex-dividend date will be 7 January 2016. The recommended final dividend and special dividend are subject to approval by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting to be held on 26 January 2016. Based on 42,069,371 ordinary shares in issue at the date of this report, the total dividend payment will amount to £6,731,000 as detailed below. In accordance with Financial Reporting Standard 21: “Events after the Balance Sheet date”, final dividends and special dividends are accounted for in the period in which they are approved by shareholders. The recommended final dividend and special dividend have therefore not been included as a liability in these Financial Statements.

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Proposed
2015 final dividend of 14.0p (2014: 14.0p) per ordinary share* 5,889  5,889 
2015 special dividend of 2.0p (2014: 1.0p) per ordinary share* 842  421 
6,731  6,310 

* Based on 42,069,371 shares in issue at 25 November 2015.
 

8. Return per ordinary share

2015                     2014                    
Net 
return 
£’000 
Ordinary 
shares*
Per 
share 
pence 
Net
return
£’000
Ordinary 
shares*
Per 
share 
pence 
Net revenue return after taxation 6,708  42,069,371  15.95  6,246 42,069,371  14.85 
Net capital return after taxation (24,888) 42,069,371  (59.16) 14,833 42,069,371  35.26 
Total return (18,180) 42,069,371  (43.21) 21,079 42,069,371  50.11 

* Weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the year.
 

9. Listed investments

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Analysis of investment portfolio movements
Opening book cost 307,072  277,594 
Opening investment holding gains 26,624  45,007 
Opening valuation 333,696  322,601 
Movements in the year:
Purchases at cost 135,962  162,188 
Sales – proceeds (137,554) (166,705)
Sales – realised gains on sales 26,333  33,995 
Investment holding losses (50,209) (18,383)
Closing valuation 308,228  333,696 
Closing book cost 331,813  307,072 
Closing investment holding (losses)/gains (23,585) 26,624 
308,228  333,696 
2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Analysis of capital gains and losses
Gains on sales 26,333  33,995 
Investment holding losses (50,209) (18,383)
(Losses)/gains on investments (23,876) 15,612 

Fair value hierarchy
In accordance with Financial Reporting Standard 29: “Financial Instruments: Disclosures”, the Company must disclose the fair value hierarchy that classifies financial instruments measured at fair value at one of three levels according to the relative reliability of the inputs used to estimate the fair values.

Classification Input
Level 1 Valued using quoted prices in active markets for identical assets
Level 2 Valued by reference to valuation techniques using observable inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1
Level 3 Valued by reference to valuation techniques using inputs that are not based on observable market data

Categorisation within the hierarchy has been determined on the basis of the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement of the relevant asset. The valuation techniques used by the Company are explained in note 1 of these Financial Statements above. All of the Company’s financial instruments fall into Level 1, being valued at quoted prices in active markets.

Transaction costs
During the year ended 30 September 2015, the Company incurred transaction costs of £173,000 (2014: £270,000) and £171,000 (2014: £233,000) on purchases and sales of investments respectively. These amounts are included in (losses)/gains on investments at fair value, as disclosed in the Income Statement above.
 

10. Significant holdings

The Company had no holdings of 3% or more of the share capital of any portfolio companies.
 

11. Debtors

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Due from brokers 1,687  -  
Taxation recoverable 886  754 
Prepayments and accrued income 149  30 
2,722  784 


12. Creditors: amounts falling due within one year

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Due to brokers 6,874  2,361 
Other creditors and accruals 147  129 
Management fee accrued 141  287 
7,162  2,777 


13. Called–up share capital

2015  2014 
£’000  £’000 
Allotted, called-up and fully paid:
42,069,371 (2014: 42,069,371) ordinary shares of 25p each 10,517  10,517 

During the year to 30 September 2015, no ordinary shares were issued or purchased and cancelled     (2014: no ordinary shares were issued or purchased and cancelled).

Duration of the Company
The Company neither has a termination date nor the requirement for any periodic continuation votes.
 

14. Net asset value per share

2015  
£’000  
2014  
£’000  
Net asset value per ordinary share 742.20p 800.41p

The net asset value per ordinary share is based on net assets of £312,239,000 (2014: £336,729,000) and on 42,069,371 (2014: 42,069,371) ordinary shares, being the number of ordinary shares in issue at the year-end.
 

15. Reconciliation of net return before finance costs and taxation to net cash inflow from operating activities

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Net return before finance costs and taxation (17,591) 22,182 
Adjust for returns from non-operating activities:
- Losses/(gains) on investments 23,876  (15,612)
- Foreign exchange losses of a capital nature 1,012  779 
Return from operating activities 7,297  7,349 
Adjustment for non-cash flow items:
- (Increase)/decrease in debtors and accrued income (119)
- Decrease in creditors and accruals (127) (131)
Net cash inflow from operating activities 7,051  7,220 


16. Reconciliation of net cash flows to movement in net cash

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Movement in net cash resulting from cash flows 5,007  3,299 
Foreign exchange movements (1,582) (818)
Movement in net cash 3,425  2,481 
Net cash brought forward 5,026  2,545 
Net cash carried forward 8,451  5,026 

   

Analysis of net cash
At 
1 October 
2014 
£’000 

Cash 
flows 
£’000 
Foreign 
exchange 
movement 
£’000 
At 
30 September 
2015 
£’000 
Cash at bank 5,026  5,007  (1,582) 8,451 

   

At 
1 October 
2013 
£’000 

Cash 
flows 
£’000 
Foreign 
exchange 
movement 
£’000 
At 
30 September 
2014 
£’000 
Cash at bank 2,545  3,299  (818) 5,026 


17. Analysis of financial assets and liabilities

Interest rate and currency profile
The interest rate and currency profile of the Company’s financial assets and liabilities were:

               2015           2014

No 
interest 
rate 
exposure 
£’000 
Cash 
flow 
interest 
rate risk 
exposure 
£’000 




Total 
£’000 

No 
interest 
rate 
exposure 
£’000 
Cash 
flow 
interest 
rate risk 
exposure 
£’000 




Total 
£’000 
Equity shares
Euro 226,654  226,654  244,023  244,023 
Swiss franc 45,235  45,235  58,576  58,576 
Norweigan krone 14,882  14,882 
Danish kroner 5,945  5,945  16,988  16,988 
Swedish krona 15,512  15,512  14,109  14,109 
Cash at bank and short-term deposits
Euro 8,376  8,376  4,949  4,949 
Sterling 75  75  77  77 
Debtors
Euro 2,376  2,376  560  560 
Swiss franc 127  127  79  79 
Norwegian krone 129  129  91  91 
Danish kroner 59  59  24  24 
Sterling 25  25  22  22 
NZ dollar
Creditors: amounts falling due
within one year
Euro (5,632) (5,632) (2,361) (2,361)
Swiss franc (573) (573)
Swedish krona (670) (670)
Sterling (287) (287) (415) (415)
NZ dollar (1) (1)
303,788  8,451  312,239  331,703  5,026  336,729 
2015 2014
Exchange rates vs sterling
Euro 1.3570 1.2834
Swiss franc 1.4801 1.5490
Norwegian krone 12.9208 10.4122
Danish kroner 10.1235 9.5529
Swedish krona 12.7043 11.6860
NZ dollar 2.3679 2.0799


18. Risk analysis

The Company is an investment company, whose shares are admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange and are listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. It conducts its affairs so as to qualify in the UK as an investment trust under the provisions of Sections 1158 and 1159 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010. In so qualifying, the Company is exempted in the UK from corporation tax on capital gains on its portfolio of investments.

As an investment trust, the Company invests in equities and makes other investments so as to achieve its investment objective of long–term capital growth through a diversified portfolio of Continental European securities. In pursuing its investment objective, the Company is exposed to risks which could result in a reduction of either or both of the value of the net assets and the profits available for distribution by way of dividend. The Board, together with the AIFM, is responsible for the Company’s risk management, as set out in the Strategic Report above.

The principal risks the Company faces are:

  • Investment and strategy risk
  • Discount volatility risk
  • Market risk (comprising: interest rate risk, currency risk and price risk)
  • Liquidity risk
  • Credit risk
  • Gearing risk

The AIFM monitors the risks affecting the Company on an ongoing basis within the policies and guidelines determined by the Board. The Directors receive financial information, which is used to identify and monitor risk, quarterly. The Company may enter into derivative contracts to manage risk but has not done so to date. A description of the principal risks the Company faces is detailed below and in the Strategic Report above.

Investment and strategy risk
There can be no guarantee that the objective of the Company will be achieved due to poor stock selection or as a result of being geared in a falling market.

The Investment Manager meets regularly with the Board to discuss the portfolio performance and strategy. The Board receives regular reports from the Investment Manager detailing all portfolio transactions and any other significant changes in the market or stock outlooks. Details of the investment policy are given in the Strategic Report above.

Discount volatility risk
The Board recognises that it is in the long–term interests of shareholders to reduce discount volatility and believes that the prime driver of discounts over the longer term is investment performance. The Company is permitted to employ gearing, a process whereby funds are borrowed principally for the purpose of purchasing securities, should the Board consider that it is appropriate to do so. The use of gearing can magnify discount volatility.

The Board actively monitors the discount at which the Company’s shares trade but it does not intend to issue a precise discount target at which shares will be bought back as it believes that the announcement of specific targets is likely to hinder rather than help the successful execution of a buy-back policy. Equally, the Company will issue shares in order to meet demand as it arises.

The Board’s commitment to allot or repurchase ordinary shares is subject to the Directors being satisfied that any offer to allot or to purchase shares is in the best interests of shareholders of the Company as a whole.

Market Risk

Interest rate risk
The Company’s assets and liabilities, excluding short-term debtors and creditors, may comprise financial instruments which include investments in fixed interest securities.

Details of the Company’s interest rate exposure as at 30 September 2015 are disclosed in note 17 of these Financial Statements.

The majority of the Company’s assets were non-interest bearing during the year ended and as at 30 September 2015. Some of the Company’s cash at bank and short-term deposits were subject to a negative interest charge during the year ended and as at 30 September 2015. There was no exposure to interest bearing liabilities during the year ended and as at 30 September 2015.

If interest rates had reduced by 0.25% (2014: 0.25%) from those obtained as at 30 September 2015, it would have the effect, with all other variables held constant, of reducing the net revenue return before taxation and therefore reducing net assets on an annualised basis by £21,000 (2014: £13,000). If there had been an increase in interest rates of 0.25% (2014: 0.25%), there would have been an equal and opposite effect in the net revenue return before taxation. The calculations are based on cash at bank and short-term deposits as at 30 September 2015 and these may not be representative of the year as a whole. This level of change is considered to be reasonable based on observation of current market conditions.

Currency risk
The base currency of the Company is sterling. The international nature of the Company’s investment activities gives rise to a currency risk which is inherent in the performance of its overseas investments. The Company’s overseas income is also subject to currency fluctuations.

It is not the Company’s policy to hedge this risk on a continuing basis.

Details of the Company’s foreign currency risk exposure as at 30 September 2015 are disclosed in note 17 of these Financial Statements.

If sterling had strengthened by 10% against all other currencies on 30 September 2015, with all other variables held constant, it would have had the effect of reducing the net capital return before taxation by £31,243,000 (2014: £33,705,000) and the net revenue return before taxation by £952,000 (2014: £943,000) and therefore would have reduced net assets by £32,195,000 (2014: £34,648,000). If sterling had weakened by 10% against all other currencies, there would have been an equal and opposite effect on both the net capital return and net revenue return before taxation. This level of change is considered to be reasonable based on observation of current market conditions.

Price risk
The Company is exposed to market risk due to fluctuations in the market prices of its investments. Market price risk arises mainly from uncertainty about future prices of financial instruments used in the Company’s business. It represents the potential loss the Company might suffer through holding market positions in the face of price movements. The Investment Manager monitors the prices of financial instruments held by the Company on an ongoing basis.

The Investment Manager actively monitors market and economic data and reports to the Board, which considers investment policy on a regular basis. The net asset value per share of the Company is issued daily to the London Stock Exchange and the New Zealand Stock Exchange and is also available on the Company’s website at www.theeuropeaninvestmenttrust.com and on the website of Edinburgh Partners at www.edinburghpartners.com.

Fixed asset investments are valued at their fair value. Details of the Company’s investment portfolio as at 30 September 2015 are disclosed above. In addition, an analysis of the investment portfolio by sector and geographical distribution is detailed above.

The maximum exposure to price risk at 30 September 2015 is the fair value of investments of £308,228,000 (2014: £333,696,000).

If the investment portfolio valuation fell by 20% from the amount detailed in the Financial Statements as at 30 September 2015, it would have the effect, with all other variables held constant, of reducing the net capital return before taxation and therefore reducing net assets by £61,646,000 (2014: £66,739,000). An increase of 20% in the investment portfolio valuation would have an equal and opposite effect on the net capital return before taxation. The calculations are based on the Company’s price risk at 30 September 2015 and may not be representative of the year as a whole. This level of change is considered to be reasonable based on observation of current market conditions.

Liquidity risk
Liquidity risk is the risk that the Company will encounter difficulty in meeting obligations associated with financial liabilities. The Company’s policy with regard to liquidity is to ensure continuity of funding. Short-term flexibility is achieved through cash management and increased borrowing, including the use of overdraft facilities.

Liquidity risk is not considered significant as the Company’s assets comprise of readily realisable securities which are industrially and geographically diverse and which can be sold freely to meet funding requirements if necessary. Securities listed on a recognised stock exchange have been valued at bid prices and exchange rates ruling at the close of business on 30 September 2015. In certain circumstances, the market prices at which investments are valued may not represent the realisable value of those investments, taking into account both the size of the Company’s holding and the frequency with which such investments are traded. The Company does not normally invest in derivative products. The Investment Manager reviews liquidity at the time of making each investment decision. The Board reviews liquidity exposure at each meeting.

Credit risk
Credit risk is the risk of financial loss to the Company if the contractual party to a financial instrument fails to meet its contractual obligations.

The carrying amounts of financial assets best represent the maximum credit risk exposure at the Balance Sheet date. There are no financial assets which are either past due or impaired.

The Company’s listed investments are held on its behalf by The Northern Trust Company acting as the Company’s custodian. Bankruptcy or insolvency of the custodian may cause the Company’s rights with respect to securities held by the custodian to be delayed. The Board monitors the Company’s risk by reviewing the custodian’s internal controls reports.

Investment transactions are carried out with a large number of brokers whose creditworthiness is reviewed by the Investment Manager. Transactions are ordinarily undertaken on a delivery versus payment basis whereby the Company’s custodian ensures that the counterparty to any transaction entered into by the Company has delivered in its obligations before any transfer of cash or securities away from the Company is completed.

Cash is only held at banks that have been identified by the Board as reputable and of high credit quality. As at 30 September 2015, The Northern Trust Company London Branch had a long-term rating from Standard and Poor’s of AA-.

The maximum exposure to credit risk as at 30 September 2015 was £319,401,000 (2014: £339,506,000). The calculation is based on the Company’s credit risk exposure as at 30 September 2015 and this may not be representative of the year as a whole.

Gearing risk
The aim of gearing is to enhance long–term returns to shareholders by investing borrowed funds in equities and other assets. The Company is permitted to employ gearing should the Board consider it appropriate to do so. The Board’s policy is that the level of gearing should not exceed 20% in normal market conditions. The use of gearing can cause both gains and losses in the asset value of the Company to be magnified.

During the year ended and as at 30 September 2015, the Company had no gearing.

The Board undertakes an annual assessment and review of all the risks stated above and in the Strategic Report above together with a review of any new risks which may have arisen during the year. These risks are formalised within the Company’s risk assessment matrix.
 

19. Capital management policies

The objective of the Company is to achieve long–term capital growth through a diversified portfolio of Continental European securities. In pursuing this long–term objective, the Board has a responsibility for ensuring the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. It must therefore maintain an optimal capital structure through varying market conditions. This involves the ability to: issue and buy back share capital within limits set by the shareholders in general meeting; borrow monies in the short and long-term; and pay dividends to shareholders out of current year revenue earnings as well as out of brought forward revenue reserves.

The Company is subject to externally imposed capital requirements, including the requirement as a public company to have a minimum share capital of £50,000, which have been met throughout the year.

Any changes to the ordinary share capital are set out in note 13 of these Financial Statements. Dividend payments are set out in note 7 of these Financial Statements.

The Company’s capital comprises:

2015 
£’000 
2014 
£’000 
Called-up share capital 10,517  10,517 
Share premium account 123,749  123,749 
Capital redemption reserve 8,294  8,294 
Capital reserve 158,690  183,578 
Revenue reserve 10,989  10,591 
Total equity shareholders’ funds 312,239  336,729 

The capital reserve consists of realised capital reserves of £182,277,000 and unrealised capital losses of £23,587.000 (2014: realised capital reserves of £156,950,000 and unrealised capital gains of £26,628,000). The unrealised capital losses consist of unrealised investment holding losses of £23,585,000 (2014: gains of £26,624,000) and unrealised foreign exchange losses of £2,000 (2014: gains of £4,000).

The Company’s objectives for managing capital are the same as the previous year and have been complied with throughout the year.


20. Transactions with the AIFM and the Investment Manager

Information with respect to transactions with the AIFM and the Investment Manager is detailed in note 3 of these Financial Statements and in the Strategic Report above.


21. Related parties

The Directors’ fees for the year are detailed in the Directors’ Remuneration Report in the full Annual Report. Under the AIC SORP, an investment manager is not considered to be a related party of the Company.


Annual General Meeting

The Company’s forty-third Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 at 11.00 am at Brewers’ Hall, Aldermanbury Square, London EC2V 7HR.

National Storage Mechanism

A copy of the Annual Report and Financial Statements will be submitted shortly to the National Storage Mechanism (“NSM”) and will be available for inspection at the NSM, which is situated at www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/NSM.

A copy of the Annual Report and Financial Statements and Notice of Annual General Meeting will be delivered to shareholders shortly and can also be found on the Company’s website at www.theeuropeaninvestmenttrust.com and on the website of Edinburgh Partners at www.edinburghpartners.com.

Enquiries:

Dale Robertson
Kenneth J Greig

Edinburgh Partners AIFM Limited

Telephone: 0131 270 3800


The Company’s registered office address is:

Beaufort House
51 New North Road
Exeter
EX4 4EP

25 November 2015

Neither the contents of the Company’s website and the Edinburgh Partners’ website nor the contents of any website accessible from hyperlinks on this announcement (or any other website) is incorporated into, or forms part of this announcement.


Source: PR Newswire (November 26, 2015 - 2:00 AM EST)

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